Brzeg Town Hall is a Renaissance building designed by Bernard Niuron built between 1569 and 1577. It is considered to be one of the most important Renaissance monuments in Poland. In addition to its role as the seat of the municipal government of Brzeg, the building houses several other institutions.
The first building housing the municipal government in Brzeg already existed in the 14th century but was burned down in the town's great fire during the reign of George II of Brieg. The present town hall was built between 1569 and 1577. It was designed by the Italian architect Bernardo Niuron, assisted by the Italian builder Jakub Parr. In later years, the building underwent minor alterations in some of its rooms which were adapted for administrative purposes. In 1926, a Renaissance gate, from one of the Brzeg townhouses, was added to the southern façade.
The town hall is a Renaissance structure built in the town square, surrounded by an inner courtyard of townhouses. It has two storeys and a saddle roof. The most interesting part of the building is its western side. In the corner there are two quadrangular towers with tented roofs and roof lanterns. Between them spans a five-axis loggia, with semicircular arches on the ground floor. Over the loggia there is another level with windows which are separated by a cornice from the mansard roof. Fragments of the façade are covered with sgraffito decorations from the seventeenth-century. There is a four-sided central tower with an octagonal cupola topped with a balustrade and two roof lanterns. The interiors have been preserved with halls and corridors of the original design, most notably the Hall of Councillors with its wall paintings and fine ceiling.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.